WAIT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ MY POST Future of news/media & how Twitter is moving me there - YOU SHOULD. It explains why I chose to post this article. Cheers! :-)

Below is my article that I wrote for the November 2008 NPPA News Photographer Magazine on my husband, Shawn Montano. He was honored as the Editor of the Year with a party in the newsroom & exactly one week later he was laid off. He asked me to write the article over the complaints of the magazine editor, who thought I would write a fluff, lovey-dovey, piece.

It honestly was one of the hardest articles I've written because I had to keep me, my emotions out of it. I couldn't talk about what it was like for me to come to work day after day after he was let go. I couldn't talk in-depth about what it did to us emotionally. That was not the purpose of the article. The purpose is to honor Shawn and his achievements.

You can follow Shawn on his blog http://blogs.nppa.org/editfoundry/
or on twitter follow @Edit_Foundry
or read several articles on him like:

Below is what I submitted to the magazine editor. This version does not include the minor edits, like punctuation and titles, that were made by the magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine does not post the stories online or I would have posted what was printed & published. I promise, the edits that were made did not change the below story in any way.

Shawn Montano has a shift in attitude

By Misty Montano, Assignment Editor, CBS4 News, KCNC-TV.

Cocky. Arrogant. Difficult.

These are the words Shawn Montano, current NPPA Editor of the Year, uses to describe himself after receiving this honor - the first time in 2001.

"After I won, my only goal was to win again, to be back-to-back EOY," Shawn said.

Versatile. Teacher. Passionate.

These are the words Shawn uses to describe himself now.

If you know he was laid off from CBS4 News in Denver, CO just weeks after the announcement that he'd won EOY, you may think he's been humbled by this slap of reality. You may think this is the reason he now describes himself so differently.

This shift in attitude did not happen in an instant. It did not happen as he packed his belongings and took down his sons' drawings from his edit bay. It did not happen anywhere near the meeting where he was told he was being laid off, after being honored with cake and speeches of acclamation exactly one week earlier, for financial reasons.

This did not happen when he made a choice about his career to stay in Denver for the benefit of his sons, instead of moving to a bigger market with more opportunities and with better pay.

In fact, he now understands he's a cog in the machine; someone who can fill the holes and cut the vo/sots for the newscasts. He says that's where he should be. "If someone realizes I can cut the newscast and a good package on top of that, then I'm more valued than someone who can only do one at a time, or can do both but not as well."

Before being laid off, Shawn believed versatility is the key to be valued in any newsroom in the country. When he started at CBS4 News in 2004 he tried to go unnoticed, but soon his talent for editing was seen and he was given special projects to edit. Then there came a time when other editors were being assigned the special projects and he wasn't able to edit as many packages. "I ended up back to being the general assignment editor, editing daily news, the vo/sots. And I was bored. I decided I needed to develop another craft."

He dabbled in shooting at first, but says he had no drive for it. "I have a history of writing short stories and poems, and I was seeing bad news writing, so I tried, and what do you know? I can write."

He worked with others in the newsroom to get a story shot for him to write and edit. This led to another shoot and another story to write and edit, which led to a writing for a magazine show. "That led to me writing an entire news magazine show, which I was nominated for an Emmy. I've been nominated twice for my writing," he said. "There are reporters who can't say that."

Even after the lay off, he stills believes versatility is what is needed of any journalist specializing in any craft because as print and television newsrooms are changing for economic reasons and to be competitive in new media, like internet, phone alerts, etc., individuals are being asked to do more. Reporters in the middle of their careers are being asked to shoot video or photographs, to edit for broadcast and web, and to write web stories. Print and video photographers have gone from behind the camera, to also writing and voicing their own stories.

Shawn advises finding opportunities in your own newsrooms where you can develop your individualized craft, so you are given the projects that excite and energize you; as well as, find opportunities to develop another talent. If you are assigned to cover or to edit an event as a vo/sot only, but see potential in the story, he suggests for the photographer to shoot it heavy and ask to edit a package that can be aired on a morning or weekend show, or aired as a web exclusive. This goes for the editor as well. "If you get something you can edit and create a good story, talk with your producers and managers to get it put in another newscast or on the web," he said. "Every photographer and editor wants the juice, the good story, sometimes to be the go to guy, you have to make yourself, your dedication, known by finding these opportunities."

In developing a second craft, Shawn says trust is the key. "If you can't get the story shot and done well, then they won't give you the resources you need to do the story."

When Shawn decided to write, he found a good story and then sold his story to the news director, then worked with the assistant news director to figure out the photographer's schedules and resources to be able to shoot the story. "It was a two-shoot story. I was able to work with a photographer on a night where there was an extra photographer on the schedule to shoot the first part. The second part of the story was an all day Saturday shoot. I was able to work with the same photographer who shot the first part of the story, but I had to make a deal with the assignment desk where we would also shoot a vo/sot for the newscast as well as our story. So we shot our story and shot news of the day."

This story was well liked and soon the weekend producers were willing to work with Shawn to get more stories for their newscasts. If Shawn couldn't go out on a special shoot, he spoke with the photographer shooting the package he knew he'd be assigned to edit regarding the video and shots needed for the story. Even reporters who wrote these stories were willing to listen to Shawn's advice on how to write the story. "My best stories on my Editor of the Year tape came from Saturday shoots where I worked like this with the photographer and reporter," he said.

After he was awarded his first Editor of the Year, Shawn was asked to present a seminar in the yearly NPPA Cutting Edge. This also attributed to his attitude shift. He started to teach. He met people in all stages of their media careers yearning to learn everything from editing basics to reason behind the physical edit.

He found that he alone was not the big picture, but that putting on good news for television, web, and print is the big picture. "A good story is a story with people in it. I want to see a good story about people. If it's a fire. How did it affect the people there or near it? If it's a snow storm. How did a mother and her kids get to school that day?"

The editing of any story or vo/sot is an essential part of telling a good news story. "Good editing should help a story flow well. It shouldn't be a distraction. Things like inappropriate tight shots and overuse of natural sound can often get in the way of a good story," Shawn said. "It should flow with the story, not get in the way."

Shawn took over as director of The Cutting Edge in 2005. "I've tried to make it a little different from other NPPA seminars. I took a little from Airborne and a little from Norman and added my own ideas. I decided to maintain the same faculty year to year and to build the seminar as a team."

He also made it a round table event where the three faculty members, himself, Matt Rafferty, an award winning editor, and Lou Davis, an award winning photographer, show their pieces and all three then discuss each piece to explain it and to critique it. "We've had disagreements on pieces that we've shown. This shows the audience there's ore than one way to do something."

Each year the faculty discusses topics for the seminars and then pick their own material to bring to be shown and discussed.

"Cutting Edge is merely and educational seminar with an emphasis on the craft of editing. I decided it needs to focus on that craft, not the editors, those specific to the job. This seminar is for the newspaper photographers to the television photographer and editor. Shooting for the edit, or the way you shoot, can make the edit much easier and the story better," he said. "I was smart enough to put a very talented photographer on the faculty."

The Cutting Edge X, "The Edit Foundry," was hosted in September by The Department of Photographic Imaging, Community College of Philadelphia. For the first time the seminar was a two-day event that also included hands-on training. "I've always had the ambition of making it more than just showing our material and talking about the pieces. Editing is a very hands on skill. I've always thought while showing the technique we've used, we could also physically edit at the same time," Shawn said.

Shawn worked with Avid to have 24 Avid boxes available to audience members this year. He also loaded a hard drive with raw material for two packages, which was then installed on the boxes by Avid before arriving at the seminar. After the first night of traditional round table seminars, the faculty took attendees to the next level by giving them the opportunity to edit along with Matt. Shawn provided the same script to everyone and then explained how shots should be picked to compliment the script and then explained why an edit is done at a certain point. While Shawn did the explaining, Matt's box was hooked up to a projector so everyone could see what he was doing in his edit.

"I wanted to teach in a hands on class because you know you have shot A and shot B, but exactly how do you edit the two together? When do you start the edit? Is there logic to it? Yes there is."

Shawn admits this first hands on training was a learning lesson for him and the faculty. "There were bumps, but we've learned how to make it better."

One of the challenges the faculty faced was the vast difference in non-linear knowledge from those who attended. There were journalists who were proficient and those who were just learning. A couple of the photographers had their first experience with non-linear editing at the seminar. "Ultimately I'd love for the seminar to be three days. The first day would be round table seminar, second would be an introduction and basic editing course in non-linear, the third would be advanced where we edit together." Shawn said. "But, I don't know if that will happen soon, so I may have to keep it at a two day seminar where those who are hands on training already have non-linear experience. Again, the seminar is not about the editor, but about the craft of editing, so we may not be able to be the ones to teach you non-linear. If you've had little or no non-linear experience, I'd want you to still attend that part of the seminar so you can watch and learn and ask questions."

Shawn's goal for the hands on training portion of the seminar is set up like this. "For example, I'd like the first two hours be where I and Matt show you the raw video and how it is edited to make a story. While we're doing this, you'd be working along with us, mimicking our edits. Then after lunch, you'd be given new raw video and another script and we'd all edit the package in say, two hours. Matt and I would show you our pieces and explain why we edited the way we did and then we'd have you show us your pieces for the same discussion."

As The Cutting Edge is evolving, Shawn has decided so must it's name. The Cutting Edge is now officially The Edit Foundry. "After typing Cutting Edge in a Google search, I found dozens of links for anything but the seminar. So, first, I decided the seminar needed a name where when typed in a Google search, it would be the first link on the page. Second, I felt Cutting Edge didn't say anything about the seminar. So I chose The Edit Foundry because it says foundation or base. The seminar is about just that, a place to start your foundation for editing, your edit style for your career."

The details of next year's The Edit Foundry haven't been decided yet, but Shawn hopes that photographers, editors and even reporters, in television and print, would come to the seminar. "As newsrooms across the country want staff to do more and more, editing is a craft that more and more are going to need," he said.

For the print photographer and reporter and for the television reporter who is now being asked to shoot video or to put slide shows together for the web, Shawn says this course is exactly what you need.

"There are so many photographers who know how to shoot great pictures, but they don't know how to put these pictures together in a slide show to tell a visual story. I see slide shows all over the internet with wonderful pictures that are so well shot, and the reporter or photographer has interviewed someone for the story, but the printed words or narration and the wonderful pictures then put together are not telling a great story. With a little help editing these pictures or video together you can have a great web story," he said. "

Shawn thinks his seminar faculty may need to expand to include someone from just the print side. "I'd love to have someone who has expanded his or her print skills to good story telling with pictures and video for the web on board with the seminar to reach out to more print journalists."

In between seminars he believes there is still much he can do to help others learn and develop their craft. Shawn has started an editing blog at http://blogs.nppa.org/editfoundry/ "I hope to update it each week. It's an educational blog with the focus in editing. I load my packages and discuss how and why I did the edits."

As Shawn continues to be versatile in his career and in the seminar, his change in attitude has lead to future goal. He wants to teach full time when his time in the newsroom is done. Next month he will begin teaching part time at The CSB School of Broadcasting, which is now opening its first campus in Colorado.

That is his future goal, one he hopes is still many years off. In the mean time he is doing all he can to stay in the career he loves.

Ask Shawn now about the reel he's putting together and you may be surprised to find out it's not for the next competition.

"I used to look for the best stories for my Editor of the Year tape. Now, I look for the best stories for my resume reel."

He doesn't have just one reel. Shawn preaches about being versatile and does what he can now to do just that. "I have an editing reel, a writing reel and a production reel."

Shawn, who is a hard-core fan of roller coasters, is currently on his own roller coaster of a ride in his career. In just eight months, he will have worked for CBS Television, Tribune and Local TV. He was laid off in March. At the end of April he accepted a position at KWGN-TV, Ch. 2, a station that wasn't hiring an editor, but realized Shawn's assets that would be brought to the staff. As of Nov. 1, he will be an employee of Local TV due to a joint operations agreement between Tribune, owner of Ch. 2, and Local TV, the recent owner of Fox 31.

The Ch. 2 staff and newscasts will be moving to the Fox 31 facility in February 2009. The two stations will share many of the same resources. At this time, there's not much more that can be said about the situation since many of the details and logistics are still being planned and organized.

One thing is certain. Shawn, as far as he knows, will be making history in Denver. When he officially moves to the Fox 31 building he may be the only person, of any position, to work in all five newsrooms in Denver.

"This is nothing I expected or strived for, but it's worked out this way. I will have a unique perspective on how five newsrooms in the same market operate."